AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy music. This month, Circle Takes the Square awaken from an eight-year slumber and Sweden's gothic masters Ghost return from their spectral hideout, plus tracks from KEN Mode, Kvelertak, and Shai Hulud.


Circle Takes the Square - Decompositions



Eight years ago, the Savannah, Georgia screamo/thrash/post-hardcore outfit Circle Takes the Square dropped As the Roots Undo on this mortal world , andpopulations of head-banging enthusiasts went nuts accordingly. The dual shrieks of vocalists Drew Speziale and Kathy Coppola over guitars centered in thrash and drums focused on grind elements were enough to make CTTS the new saviours of hardcore, bringing new relevance to the ill-titled 'screamo' genre and really just delivering a critically flawless ass-kicking to the ear drums of anyone who wanted to take part. And then it turned out that Circle Takes the Square were merely human beings, since it'd been close to eight years since the band put out any new material. They sure as hell toured in-between, but their "reported" second full-length was starting to sound more and more like Chinese Screamocracy, an oft-mentioned holy lore of music more suitable as a reference in the newest Indiana Jones film than in reality. But weary no more, treasure seekers -- because Circle Takes the Square is finally back. They started a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and the final product, Decompositions, has finally seen the light. The entire album is up on the band's Bandcamp page at a name-your-own-price steal, and the vinyl is expected to be pressed and available in early 2013. Lets hope that doesn't turn into early 2021...


The first annual CounterPoint Music and Arts Festival was held about 20 miles South of Atlanta, GA on a well-established horse farm along the Chattahoochee river. The venue was nestled upon green-topped pastures and surrounded by woodlands and a scenic waterfront, altogether under a spacious sky. In the festival foreground stood a monstrous dual main stage for quick back-to-back set transitions. The mid-ground had carnival rides, live art installations, event sponsored amenities, and local goods and food vendors galore! (The jumbo turkey legs and lamb crepes were delicious!) Lastly, two whopping tents were situated in the background, along with a water-filling station that constantly had a line that seemed comparable to one for the latest iPhone release.
It seemed very appropriate for me, as a first-time festival camper, to attend the first ever CounterPoint! Festival goers not only brought their camping essentials, but more importantly, they brought an electrifying energy and all the feel-good vibes the east coast had to offer. Some even made the trek from California! I admired their dedication and gave them some well-earned candy bracelets. There was an undeniable multi-dimensional sense of community that was brought on by the shared love for connections with like-minded people, an escape from our daily realities, and above all, the love of music. I went in with no intentions of reviewing any specific acts, but instead I was going to attend as many sets as I could, well-known or otherwise, and would cover those that left a lasting impression. Those include Crystal Castles, Beats Antique, Skrillex, Zoogma, Adventure Club, and Abakus.
AURAL DEVASTATION Because sometimes all we need is our ear drums shattered by the weight of music, the force of distortion, and the insanity of noise.


Savannah, Georgia is known for a lot of things - most of it related to its historic charm - but on the modern front, it is the city of metal in the United States. Amongst the bands being churned out of the city, arguably no one has made more of a critical impact than the quartet Baroness. On the band's latest, the immensely grand and bold double album Yellow & Green, Baroness find themselves becoming a prog-rock band with metal tendencies. As you follow their catalog, the progression makes sense, and a very insightful interview with NPR adds all the backstory required. This is one of the best albums of the year, and probably one of the more important metal albums to come out in a long time. Editor's Note: Amazing artwork, as always, from Baroness vocalist John Dyer Baizley. See HERE for our interview with him about his work with Gillian Welch on The Harrow & The Harvest, or click on the cover to see it in hi-res.
The 2012 Seattle International Film Festival begins on May 17th, 2012! In the next few days, we will be providing film previews for our top SIFF picks of the year. Times and dates are subject to change, so please visit before heading to theatres, or see HERE for all film preview coverage, including film selections from other regions of the world.


Germany/Russia/Ukraine Directed by Achim von Borries
Set in 1945 and based off a true story, 4 Days Of May follows the days before the official end of World War II. The Germans have already lost, but as soldiers and civilians both learn how to deal with the change, drama and unconventional decision-making ensue. May 31st @ 4:00pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown June 7th @ 9:00pm, Harvard Exit June 9th @ 4:30pm, Egyptian Theatre


SPECTRAL HYPNOSIS A recurring series, featuring mesmerizing songs for one to lose sense of time and space, mind and body. Here, we start off a bit rowdy with Tassels and sink slowly into the enchanting mellow instrumental shores of Grapefruit and Lyonnais.


Vancouver-based producer Sean Orr will soon be releasing a new LP, the brilliantly artworked Pressure Mounts, on Dallas' Pour Le Corps. This 2:13-long track is a whirlwind of experimentation and unconventional sound bites which curiously leave one hungering for more. Pressure Mounts drops May 29th, and the full tracklisting is available at the bottom of this post. Tassels - "Shake Them Shackles"



Analog synths and Tangerine Dream vibes combine for Portland electronic artist Grapefruit's latest record, which you can buy HERE on Field Hymns. Choosing a track to highlight was certainly a difficult task, so I've decided to take the liberty of offering you three, because... why the hell not? For download and stream is the entrancing closing track "Aleatoric Tone Tunnels", along with "End Scene" and the music video for "Phase Accidents". Expect an interview with Grapefruit soon! Grapefruit - "Aleatoric Tone Tunnels" - DOWNLOAD MP3 [audio:/mp3/downloads/Grapefruit_Aleatoric-Tone-Tunnels.mp3] Grapefruit - "End Scene"


Prior to its release, Washed Out's debut album, Within And Without, had been so widely hyped and over-anticipated in the internet world that it was almost nauseating. Yes, the few songs that were released a few months prior to the actual album drop were great. And yes, Washed Out is definitely a forerunner in the movement known as "chillwave." But who could tell if the full album itself was going to be a wash or not? (Pardon the pun.) Within And Without is one of many rare cases in which the hype actually does live up to final product. Within And Without is a satisfying listen because it is an example of a completely well-rounded album.

Listen to "Amor Fati" - DOWNLOAD MP3

The first time I heard Madeline was probably two years ago. With just one song, I knew that she had wooed me forever. Her voice was unmistakably tangible -- in a day and age when good voices are plentiful and female singer-songwriters a drop in the bucket. Listen to "Hurry Up...

The Maserati and Sleepy Eyes Of Death billing was one of those interesting mashes. Two bands theoretically playing the same broad spectrum of music, but proving that genre tags really mean nothing. These two "post-rock" bands couldn't be more different sounding at all. The Sunset Tavern Seattle, WA 2011 - 04/19 Sleepy Eyes Of...

"Since most art dealing with consumerism seems too matter-of-fact, I want my work to be allegorical, being humorous and visually interesting but imparting a deeper message. Why the hell do we need all this stuff, anyways?"...

Talk about a bittersweet release. The first thing I thought of when I put the new Maserati album on was the unfortunate death of their old drummer Jerry Fuchs. So, Pyramid Of The Sun seems like it was his last testament of sorts. A large part of this is because...